New research has linked pollutant PM2.5 and air pollutant nitrogen dioxide with increased mortality rates. Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) spokesperson Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM told the RANZCP's newsGP publication that the Government ‘can’t ignore these figures’ and that local research is required to validate the results.
‘Clearly there are multiple risk factors related to serious COVID-19 infection – being elderly, immunocompromised, having cancer or existing chronic disease, smoking etc – but these international studies suggest air pollution may also be a contributing factor," says Dr Kotsirilos.
‘We’re really calling on the Federal Government to do more research in Australia to see if there is a correlation or association with air pollution and local fatalities as a result of COVID-19 infection.’
The National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) is currently revising air pollutant standards for nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone, and Dr Kotsirilos said the coronavirus pandemic presents a ‘unique opportunity’ to strengthen safeguards in Australia.
Read published in newsGP on 22 April 2020.
DEA has made a submission to the Proposed variation to the Ambient Air Quality NEPM standards for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide which can be read HERE
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